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The Truth and Evils of Opium: The Anti-Opium Activities of British Missionary to China John Dudgeon (1837–1901)

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image of Frontiers of History in China

In order to purify the environment in which they planned to convert, from the 1860s onwards British Missionaries in late Qing China started to carry out anti opium campaigns. It was these campaigns that became the life work of British Medical Missionary John Dudgeon. Dudgeon was of the opinion that it was the ferocious opium trade that was destroying the morals, traditional culture, society, and economy of the Chinese, turning China into the West’s greatest market and in turn affecting China’s own economic benefits. Based on his surveys made on the wards, from a medical perspective, Dudgeon announced that “an opium-smoker’s family become extinct in the third generation.” Dudgeon drew up the “Dudgeon Plan” in the hope that Sino-British governmental cooperation could bring about the end of the opium trade. Nevertheless, these campaigns met with stiff opposition and suppression, and lost support from the Missionary Society. John Dudgeon’s plan was ultimately a failure.


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